State's Top 10 Prospects: (No. 5) Brunetti improved through hard work

Brunetti

Brunetti

Barry Brunetti could have chosen to play a position other than quarterback.

It’s a good thing he didn’t.

Brunetti, the News Sentinel’s fifth-best prospect in the state, began his career at Memphis University School relying more on his legs than his arm.

The pro-style quarterback with athleticism to spare said he never doubted that he was meant to play quarterback.

“I kind of felt as I got older, I was going to get better with my progressions and learn how to stay in the pocket instead of just running,” he said. “That came out to be true.

“As I got older I matured more. It’s just easy to me now — staying in the pocket and throwing first.”

There were skeptics who doubted Brunetti would be able to develop into a pass-first quarterback.

That criticism turned him into a better player.

“That’s one thing I know I have is a chip on my shoulder,” the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder said. “I can’t just get (taller). It makes me work harder.”

Brunetti’s hard work turned him into a top-flight quarterback.

Brunetti committed to West Virginia last month after strongly considering offers from Mississippi State and Penn State.

I’m still going to kind of research Tennessee. Even though I’m a solid commitment (to West Virginia) it’s still Tennessee and I’m still in state, but it would be hard for me to de-commit because I’m very solid to West Virginia.

Barry Brunetti

He also received interest from Tennessee.

West Virginia’s offense flourished in recent years under the guidance of former quarterback Pat White, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in April’s NFL draft.

White successfully ran the spread-option offense of coach Rich Rodriguez, who left to become Michigan’s head coach in 2008.

Brunetti said West Virginia’s new offense, led by coordinator Jeff Mullen, will allow him to use his arm as much as his legs.

“They don’t have to really run the quarterback like they did Pat,” Brunetti said. “They’re going to do some under-center stuff, too, which is good for me. I can do both.”

Some schools are hoping Brunetti will change his college decision.

He said he’s still being recruited by Mississippi State and Memphis. He said UT also has shown interest, especially lately.

Brunetti told the News Sentinel on Tuesday he intends to contact UT’s coaches.

“I’m still going to kind of research Tennessee,” he said. “Even though I’m a solid commitment (to West Virginia) it’s still Tennessee and I’m still in state, but it would be hard for me to de-commit because I’m very solid to West Virginia.”

Critics would have never expected to see Brunetti on the News Sentinel’s list of top prospects — especially as a quarterback.

He said his success comes from his work ethic and determination.

“When I was younger I always wanted to be one of these guys I was watching growing up,” Brunetti said. “For it to happen, it’s a dream come true. It’s a blessing and an honor.”

Josh Ward is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 33

Voluvr writes:

West Virginia better start recruiting another QB.

Hounddog writes:

Let's play football. Hounddog

gohawks1 writes:

in response to Voluvr:

West Virginia better start recruiting another QB.

Kinda sounds that way, doesn't it...

teampenny#658108 writes:

He would be a good pick up. Over the years more mobile QBs have won more NCs than just PRO style. And no QB in the last twenty years that has won a NC has done anything in the NFL. Go Vols

chad_t31 writes:

I'd hate to know that I had a "strong commitment" from a kid who was going to actively seek out conversations with other coaches. I know we're 7 months away from signing day and kids change their minds often, you just don't normally hear a guy say what he did. I tend to agree with the post by voluvr.

txvolsfan writes:

Most strong commitments actively seek out conversations with other coaches. They are 17 and 18 year old kids that everyone tells them they are the greatest in the world!!!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Coach K also encourages his commits to visit other schools too. I don't see Brunetti going to UT unless Retting and Scroggins both go elsewhere. Brunetti won't go somewhere as a bench warmer.

givehim6 writes:

Not really sure I want Brunetti at UT the way he made a big fuss over UT,then went to UWV. Sounds a bit like a drama king to me.

volsfootballtime writes:

I dont think there are 10 GREAT players in tennessee so if we dont land all of them that is probably a good thing. If we start getting all the top talent in tennessee we will be hurting for a while..

OrangeUTnatioN writes:

So we've, "shown interest, especially lately," in Brunetti? Kinda makes me wonder if that has something to do with Scroggins

transplantiam writes:

in response to OrangeUTnatioN:

So we've, "shown interest, especially lately," in Brunetti? Kinda makes me wonder if that has something to do with Scroggins

You and I think quite alike on this. Seems as if Kiffin might think Brunetti would jump ship from W.Va. if he "offered', just in case no Scroggins or Retig but after seeing the video of the last interview of Scroggins, I don't think he wants to wait for Barkley to mess up. Maybe Kiffin hits a flush and lands all three!! Wishful thinking? I'm outta here tonight!

IBleedOrange444 writes:

I like this guy. In state, great arm, to hell with the height! Come be a legend at UT Barry!

gillblog writes:

What is it about people from Memphis changing their minds? See: Memphis mayor Willie Herenton.

FLVol writes:

I believe this guy will be a Vol in the end.

gnm53108 writes:

In my oppion gettin Rettig and Brunetti would be like hittin the lotery.

And I dont play the lotery.

vol4good#206163 writes:

in response to RollTideRoll987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Boyd is injured and may not play at all this season. I believe that had more to do with coach withdrawing his scholarship offer.

Voluvr writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

He would be a good pick up. Over the years more mobile QBs have won more NCs than just PRO style. And no QB in the last twenty years that has won a NC has done anything in the NFL. Go Vols

Very Ironic. Who is the last running QB to win a Super Bowl? It's always the drop back pocket passer in the NFL.

Part of the reason I never understood Bud Adams facination with the running QB. The model is in place.

GOVOLS123 writes:

This kid is not a pro style QB as stated in the article. He is ranked the #1 duel threat QB. Also he is not 6'1 he is 5'10 at best

ETNTigerFan writes:

in response to gillblog:

What is it about people from Memphis changing their minds? See: Memphis mayor Willie Herenton.

Ha! I wish he (King Willie) could be used for a UT practice dummy.

UrbanCryer writes:

NSD is a long way off. ut will lose some and gain some by then. NSD didnt look to promising thus year but Kiff & co. did a great job. ill trust the staff until i SEE otherwise

OrangeUTnatioN writes:

in response to transplantiam:

You and I think quite alike on this. Seems as if Kiffin might think Brunetti would jump ship from W.Va. if he "offered', just in case no Scroggins or Retig but after seeing the video of the last interview of Scroggins, I don't think he wants to wait for Barkley to mess up. Maybe Kiffin hits a flush and lands all three!! Wishful thinking? I'm outta here tonight!

Wishful thinking, indeed. That would really be amazing. The Scroggins interview, from California, was basically all about Tennessee...very interesting. I really like Rettig, though, and maybe we get him and we could see something like Ainge and Schaeffer from a few years back. I really enjoyed watching those 2 and would be very happy to see a new and improved version in 2011

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to OrangeUTnatioN:

So we've, "shown interest, especially lately," in Brunetti? Kinda makes me wonder if that has something to do with Scroggins

I believe it has to do with Brunetti's performance in the QB camp in June.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

in response to RollTideRoll987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

When he passed on Taj Boyd, Kiffin had Stephens AND Coleman for 2010...he could afford to be picky.

Now Coleman has transferred and he only has Stephens and a Walk On. If he doesn't land Scroggins or Rettig, then he will be even less picky (yes some desperation will kick in).

It is simply supply and demand. We didn't need Boyd in February, but we may need Brunetti before August is over...simple as that.

OrangeUTnatioN writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

I believe it has to do with Brunetti's performance in the QB camp in June.

I hope so because I would love to see Scroggins in orange, more so than Brunetti, regardless of the circus he is bringing along with him. I'd be very happy with either, however, I am wondering why Kiffin and co. would start showing heavy interest in Brunetti now...I'm starting to believe that they think he may be USC bound. On the other hand, Scroggins' interview from the other day was extremely heavy on Tennessee talk and no more than a word or 2 on USC and UF...and it was with a California TV station

seventysevenvol writes:

I watched him play in person. Amazing athlete, not an SEC QB. And truthfully, he's 5'11". Could be an "athlete" if offered, but UT has real QB issues first.

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to OrangeUTnatioN:

Wishful thinking, indeed. That would really be amazing. The Scroggins interview, from California, was basically all about Tennessee...very interesting. I really like Rettig, though, and maybe we get him and we could see something like Ainge and Schaeffer from a few years back. I really enjoyed watching those 2 and would be very happy to see a new and improved version in 2011

I couldnt disagree with you more. I can olny speak for myself but I am sure most UT fans want our coaching staff to find one guy and stick with that. The flip flopping at the QB spot is a bad sign and usually indicates QB problems and that you do not have a clear cut starter. The exception is when you have a short yardage 3rd down QB that can run for the 1st down 70-80% of the time. If that is what you are getting at then great, but my experiences, especially back in the Ainge/Scaeffer days, the flip flopping back and forth was maddening.

Slystone writes:

He's solid to the Mountaineers. I question if UT ever made him an offer.

OrangeUTnatioN writes:

in response to ColeTrickle:

I couldnt disagree with you more. I can olny speak for myself but I am sure most UT fans want our coaching staff to find one guy and stick with that. The flip flopping at the QB spot is a bad sign and usually indicates QB problems and that you do not have a clear cut starter. The exception is when you have a short yardage 3rd down QB that can run for the 1st down 70-80% of the time. If that is what you are getting at then great, but my experiences, especially back in the Ainge/Scaeffer days, the flip flopping back and forth was maddening.

Wrong, does Teebow and Leak ring a bell? I think it brought those criminals a national championship a few years back. All I am saying is, with 2 true freshman coming in at QB, you really can't expect one to be "the guy." This is the SEC and we aren't dealing with high school defenses. Both are capable of throwing the ball and Scroggins can definately run if he needs to, similar to Leak and Teebow. So, why not let them play to their stregnths and maybe we can put more points on the board than the 15 or so we averaged last year?

DuckRiverVol writes:

Brunetti was offered after the camp as an athlete. He will never be the starting QB at UT. Scroggins is singing a different tune after UT offered Rettig. Neither JS nor BB will ever take a snap in a game for the Orange. Look at USC's last 8 to 10 starting QB's... see a trend? Thats what UT's QB's will look like as long as this staff is here. Everyone is acting like we dont even have a QB on the entire team. These coaches have been doing this for a long time... I have faith that they know what they are doing. And if they dont... someone is waisting a carpload of cash. Go Vols!

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Very Ironic. Who is the last running QB to win a Super Bowl? It's always the drop back pocket passer in the NFL.

Part of the reason I never understood Bud Adams facination with the running QB. The model is in place.

I agree in the NFL a drop back passer. The SEC is not the NFL-we want NC's not just a school that produces Pros. That is why Tebow is a better COLLEGE QB than Peyton was.

straightshooter writes:

This guy doesn't sound to be 100% in the WV fold yet! Sounds like a decent chance of getting him even yet. Maybe he was concerned UT would get a top 5 QB and he would see no playing time. If he thinks other QB's UT finishes with can be beaten out for the starting job, wouldn't surprise me if he decomits! Sounds like he might be playing both ends to his advantage. Can't miss!! Not a bad strategy I must admitt!!

straightshooter writes:

As for the pro style versus running style QB, there is no question that the running style QB is more successful in the college game. He touches the ball every play and if he is a runner, puts the defense at a disadvantage.
Even Pete Carroll has under acheived at USC what with the vast talent that has went thru there(always top 3 recruiting class) versus the number of #1 trophies he has. Not as bad as Reich at Georgia whom is a big time under achiever but still not the success of Urban Meyer who has done more with less.

bigreese82 writes:

One advantage that we would have with Brunetti is that his uncle is a Nashville High school Head football coach at Pearl Cohn high school. Him and his uncle are very close and his uncle is rumored to be a UT fan and wants to see him play.

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